Monday, April 24, 2017

Summer Reading List: Part 2

We're so excited for next season at BACT, we can hardly contain ourselves  To tide us over, we're doing some summer reading to prepare.  Join us!

Here's part 2 of our Summer Reading List!

Beautiful Oops!

One of the most exciting pop-ups for young readers, Beautiful Oops! focuses on the creative potential of our mistakes.  If you've already read it, consider these as companion pieces: The Dot and Ish.  And teachers, don't forget to join the Beautiful Oops revolution, fostering creativity through mistakes!

Judy Moody

For fans of the Judy Moody and Stink series, Judy Moody and Stink and the Mad Mad Mad Treasure Hunt, will be quite an adventure.  If you've already read all nine Judy Moody's, don't forget to check out the Stink collections too!  Our favorites include Stink and the Attack of the Slime Mold and Stink and the Great Guinea Pig Express.

Once you've run out of books, consider the classics Amelia Bedilia, and Beezus and Ramona.

Inside Out and Back Again

One of our new shows for middle graders, Inside Out & Back Again deals the the struggles of a young refugee, in this award winning debut novel.  After this read, check out Lai's second book, Listen Slowly, the story of a young girls vacation to Vietnam to learn about her family's involvement in the Vietnam War.  Both beautiful and poignant stories will lead to discussions about culture, heritage, and the importance of family.

So, what are you waiting for?  Hit the library or the book store, and start reading.  Next season will be here before you know it!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Summer Reading: Get Ready for Next Season

Finally, our 2017/2018 season has been announced!  We couldn't be more thrilled for our new home and new season of exciting shows for kids and parents alike!

Here's part one of our 2017 reading list to prepare the whole family for a season of Bay Area Children's Theatre fun!

The Rainbow Fish!

A favorite classic for anyone who loves a little sparkle and adventures under the sea!  If you're too young for Rainbow Fish, try The Rainbow Fish finger puppet edition! And for more Rainbow Fish adventures, check out Rainbow Fish and the Big Blue Whale!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar!

This classic sells one copy every thirty seconds world wide!  Looking for some companion pieces?  How about I love Mom with the Very Hungry Caterpillar--just in time for Mother's Day?  Or another Eric Carle gem, My First Book of Food, because it's never too early to become a Bay Area Foodie!

The Night Fairy

A longer read at 128 pages,  The Night Fairy as the question "what if a fairy loses her wings?"  If you're too young for The Night Fairy, author Laura Amy Schlitz just released her latest book, Princess Cora and the Crocodile last month.

Willy Wonka!

From the wacky mind of Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is one of his less terrifying pieces of kid lit.  Other less popular choices include Danny Champion of the World, and when the kids are ready to learn where all of these crazy stories originated, his memoir of sorts, Boy

Time to get reading, and check back soon for part two of our summer reading list!

Monday, April 10, 2017

More Learning! Fly Guy Facts and Fun

Flies are pets, not pests, according to our pal Fly Guy, so here are some resources for more fly learning fun!

Fly Guy the Musical

If you're looking for an easy guide to breakdown various types of flies and their differences, buzz over to

If you're a Kindle reader, Fantastic Facts about Flies, is a free Kindle Unlimited read!

If you've flown through the Fly Guy series and are craving another picture book, check out I. Fly, an illustrated education about the awesomeness of flies.

Watch the growth cycle of flies with this awesome video!

And for those who just want a little more of Fly Guy, the Musical, here are the fly facts from the shows' closing number!

Fly Girl and Fly Guy are amazin’
Two creatures to pique your fascination
Since craving more information
Listen as we list Linnaean classifications
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Section: Schizophora
They’re flies! (Flies!)
They have compound eyes!
A thousand little lenses let ‘em see from all sides
Can smell things a mile away!
And scientists say that if conditions are great
Some flies can fly several miles a day
Yeah, the buzz that they make is the sound of their wings beating
They have sticky, sticky feet that let ‘em walk on the ceiling
And the hairs on those feet let them taste where they’re walking
But they don’t have teeth, so they can’t ingest solids
So they vomit on food, because their vomit is caustic
And they suck it back up with a straw-like proboscis
Fly Guy, Fly Girl, oh Fly Guy, Fly Girl, friendzies!
Fly Guy, Fly Girl, or Fly Guy, Fly Girl, friendzies!
Yeah a couple of kids and their pets who were flies
Copyright Austin Zumbro 2017

If these fly activities don't fulfill your fly-loving needs, you could always make your way to Fly Guy, the Musical again!  It's even better a second time!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Fly Guy's Favorite Dessert: Dirt Cake

Flies love gross stuff: moldy bread, rotten meat, and stale Oreo cookies.  Just one of the many things we humans don't have in common with our fly friends.  But, what if, just for an afternoon we could enjoy gross treats just as much as these bugs do?

Treat yourself to some afternoon grub with dirt cake!

fly guy the musical
Photo Credit:

The perfect treat for spring time, get your kid's psyched for Fly Guy, the Musical with this no bake, easy to make dirt cake!

fly guy the musical
Photo Credit:

  • 1 Oreo package--double stuff or flavored will lighten the color of your top soil, but add fun flavor to the mix!
  • 1 16 oz. instant pudding package--chocolate will leave your dirt extra brown, while vanilla or banana will make for light colored layers
  • 1 16 oz Cool Whip--full fat is best to create extra fluffy dirt.  Our try non-dairy Coco Whip for a slight coconut flavor!
  • Gummy worms, or other fun treats to bury in the mud!
  • Fun container--clean plastic pot, lined terra cotta pot, or just some cups for serving!

fly guy the musical
Photo Credit:

How to make no-bake dirt cake:

  1. Mix pudding per box instructions.
  2. Grind Oreos into a soil-like consistency.  If you don't have a food processor, try putting the Oreos in a Ziplock and smashing them for extra fun!
  3. Separate pudding into two portions.
  4. Mix one portion of pudding with equal portion of Cool Whip.
  5. Start layering!  Layer pudding, Oreo crumbs, Cool Whip, and the pudding mix in whatever order you like, making sure to leave a thick layer of Oreo dirt on top!
  6. Garnish with creepy crawlers and enjoy!

Don't worry, if you think you made too much dirt cake, leave it on the counter for a few days, and Fly Guy will finish it for you!

fly guy

Get your tickets for Fly Guy, the Musical, before he flies away!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Peculiar Friendships in Children's Literature

We at BACT are a buzz about our musical adaptation of Fly Guy, but it has us yearning for other great stories about peculiar friendships.
Fly Guy the Musical
Buzz and Liz LOVE their pet flies

If you're in the mood for a book or two about unusual friendships, here's the reading list for you!

If you love the classics:

Curious George: Who knew a man in a yellow hat and a monkey could be pals?  Curious George stands the test of time.

Charlotte's Web: Always a tear jerker, your kid will spend the rest of their life searching for a relationship as meaningful as Wilbur and Charlotte's. 

Winnie the Pooh:  The hundred acre wood is full of unusual friendships.  Bears who love pigs, a boy who love bears, and a tigger that might love himself the most.  

Stories from BACT season's past:

Where are Jame's friends when he needs them?

James and the Giant Peach: The musical was composed by this year's Oscar winners, Pasek and Paul, but the book is a Dahl staple, perfect for those who aren't scared of the creepy and crawly.  Not for those who have a fear of their own family. 

Elephant and Piggy: Like many animal tales, this series reminds us that there's nothing strange about the bond between a cautious elephant and care-free pig.

Ivy and Bean: Ivy is a little Berkeley, Bean is a tomboy at heart.  They couldn't be more different, but that doesn't stop these girls from a world of adventures.  The perfect way remind your child to not judge their neighbor by their quirkiness.  

For poetry lovers:

The Giving Tree: This beloved tale from kid-favorite Shel Silverstein has spent over half a century teaching the beauty of the life cycle, while reminding us all to go outside and hug a tree.

Fly Guy the Musical

Less talked about friendships:

Archy and Mehitabel: Because cockroaches and cats can be friends, especially when the cat's on her ninth life, and the roach is Cleopatra's latest reincarnation.  About as old as most cockroaches, this story has been around since 1916!

Flora and Ulysses: The unlikely friendship of a girl and a supercharged squirrel she rescued from a vacuum.  One of the quirkier tales from Kate DiCamillo.  What's not to love?

Hopefully these tales will get you pumped for the best of unusual friends of all--a kid and their pet fly!  So get your tickets for Fly Guy before they fly away!


Monday, February 27, 2017

Julietta's Blog: Interview with the Pippi Longstocking Stage Manager

Here's a few words from our Jr. Blogger, Julietta, about her experience watching Pippi Longstocking and an interview with Stage Manager Kat Pruyn!

I loved the Pippi Longstocking play! It is about a girl named Pippi who lives by herself in a house she calls 'Ville Villekula'. She is very strong and smart, but you wouldn't expect it! Her dad is a pirate that got lost in the sea, and her mother is in heaven. I really liked the part where Pippi hears about school, but doesn't want to go, until she hears about summer vacation! 

Pippi is very, very, silly, funny, crazy and everything in between!

I read the book Pippi Longstocking when I was little, and from what I remember, the play was exactly like the book! The actors really brought the book to life, and one of the great things was Pippi's monkey and horse. The horse was a hobby-horse that can move it's head, and the monkey was a puppet. Pippi came on stage riding her horse and then showed off her monkey.

So, if there aren't actors playing the animals, who does the sound effects for them? After the show, I got to interview the stage manager, Kat Pruyn who does exactly that.

As a stage manager, Kat does a lot of things, like make sure everyone shows up on time, and during the show, she controls the music changes and sound effects on the computer. 
She says it can be challenging being a stage manager, but it is really fun.
She loved the show because she is a big fan of the book. She read the book in elementary school and again before the play. 
It is her first time being a stage manager, but she has been an assistant stage manager three times for James and the Giant Peach, 3 Little Birds, and Fancy Nancy

It took her five runs to get things right for this show, she likes to keep notes to help her remember. 
Some shows are harder than others, but is still fun. 
She has been an actor when she was little, but now she designs costumes and stage manages.

During the show it was very fun to watch her stage manage, as my seat was above where I could watch her and the show. She was very focused, and only looked away from the computer to wait for actor's signals and to look at her notes.

It was great getting to meet her and I can't wait to see my next play so I can watch the stage manager more to see them in other plays!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Playwright's Perspective: Min and Sharky

Here's a post from Min Kahng,  creative mind behind Story Explorers, our new show designed for children with disabilities.

Story Explorers: Meet Sharky, the Story Shark!

Bay Area Childrens Theatre
Sharky and actor Austin Zumbro

First, Sharky is a sort of buffer between the children and actors, in case the human-to-human interaction proves undesirable.

One element of Story Explorers we are really excited about is Sharky, the Story Shark! Sharky is a soft, friendly puppet who serves many different functions in the show. First, Sharky is a sort of buffer between the children and actors, in case the human-to-human interaction proves undesirable. Sharky straddles that line between person and object, which can be more inviting for a child with autism. He was intentionally constructed with a singular facial expression, so there would be no need to read emotional or social cues. 

If a kid is feeling uncertain about a moment in the show - say, playing with clay - they might look over and notice that Sharky seems OK touching the clay and decide they will as well. 

Sharky also verbalizes in a nonsense "shark language," sending the signal that in our theatre space, everyone can communicate in their own way, without needing to follow the norms of verbal language.
Every interactive element in the show is offered to Sharky as well as the kids, turning the puppet into a sort of example or guinea pig. If a kid is feeling uncertain about a moment in the show - say, playing with clay - they might look over and notice that Sharky seems OK touching the clay and decide they will as well. Sharky is also very huggable and pettable. Lots of kids enjoyed interacting with Sharky in our classroom visits. In a few classes, they also immediately called out his name "Sharky!" when they saw him enter the room - which made me think I named him well.

For more info on Story Explorers, check out our website.  For more on Min's artistic endeavors, check out his website!